08 October 2010

8 October - Saint Reparata and Nice

AstronomyDraconid meteor shower: October 7th and 8th, in the late evening.  Not one of the spectacular showers, with only about 6 meteors per hour, but it should be dark enough to see, as the New Moon was two days ago.  Look north.

Feast of Saint Reparata.  The story is that she was a young girl of Caesarea in the 3rd century, who was tortured and thrown into a furnace when she would not sacrifice to the Roman gods.  She survived the flames, and was beheaded.

The patron saint of Nice, her annual fete will be held there this year on October 10.

So naturally, we should have a SALADE NICOISE to celebrate.

On a large dish or platter, lay a bed of Boston or Butter lettuce leaves, and arrange on top of them in a pleasing pattern:
Peeled and cooked small red potatoes (whole or sliced),
Cooked and refreshed green beans, 
Wedges of ripe tomatoes,
Hard-boiled eggs, peeled and halved,
Nicoise olives,
Oil packed tuna,
Canned anchovy fillets.

You can toss the vegetables with a little garlic vinaigrette before assembling, or spoon the vinaigrette over the salad before serving.  Or both. Very easy, and very impressive.

You can find another good recipe for this and other Provencal food at "Provence Beyond".  Another Nice specialty is 'socca', which is a very thin pancake/flatbread made of chickpea flour and olive oil, baked on a HUGE round cast iron or copper pan.  When done, it is sprinkled generously with pepper, broken into pieces, and eaten hot.

If you don't have a HUGE round pan, try David Lebovitz's recipe, which uses a cast iron skillet or a tart pan.  (It also has pictures, which is always a great help to the exuberant but easily confused cook)

Nice is on the Cote d'Azur in southern France.  Go here to the Provence Web page for more information, and for lovely photos that will look even lovelier as winter sets in, believe me.